Travel News

The Coronavirus Impact on Air Travel: El Al Warns of Collapse, Cathay Pacific Parks 50% of Aircraft, Amazon Halting Non-Essential Travel, and More

Written by Charlie

With the Coronavirus spreading in various countries around the world, the impact of Coronavirus on air travel is also spreading. Here is some of the latest news.

The Coronavirus, COVID-19, still does not have as many cases or deaths as “the flu” as in influenza but with cases topping 87,000 and the death count over 3,000 (which is certainly tragic), many are still nervous about it. Due to its ease of transmission, the impact on travel has been huge. Here is the latest on the Coronavirus impact on air travel.

How Is Coronavirus Impacting Air Travel? (March, 2020)

El Al Warns of Collapse

Just a couple of days ago, El Al warned of the possibility that the national airline of Israel may face collapse. This is due in part to Israel had  warning all their citizens to avoid international travel due to the coronavirus. Now, there is news that that they may have to layoff 1,000 employees as people are traveling less and several of their routes are being halted.

Israel’s PM, Netanyahu, has said that Israel will do what they can to keep El Al from failing. El Al, as the flag carrier of Israel, is the most secure airline in the world and Israelis feel very safe using it for traveling to destinations around the world. For this reason, as well as Israeli jobs, it is easy to see why Israel will try and help them during this difficult time.

Cathay Pacific Parks 50% of Aircraft

According to the South China Morning Postat any one time, Cathay Pacific has over 50% of their aircraft idling on the ground. Cathay Pacific has been hit in a major way by the coronavirus and travel alerts for the regions they fly to. They have also cut 75% of their weekly flights this month.

In addition, Cathay Pacific also has 75% of their staff (25,000, according to SCMP) on unpaid leave during this time of travel crisis.

Amazon Suspends Non-Essential Travel

Amazon, reportedly the 12th biggest corporate customer of domestic air travel, has told employees to suspend all non-essential travel on both domestic and international flights. One report says that their end date on this is the end of April.

In addition, they have halted in-person interviews, option to do these over video instead. With Amazon domestic travel being such a chunk of corporate business for US airlines, this is certainly going to hurt the airlines.

Photos of Major Airports Around the World

This article shows photographs of major airports and the coronavirus impact in a real way on air travel. With the IATA estimating a $29.3 billion loss in passenger revenue for 2020, this just gives image to what is happening to the airline industry around the world.

Airline Route Suspensions

Airlines around the world have suspended routes to China as well as places like Iran, some routes in Italy, and other areas where various airlines feel it is not safe to fly to at this time. While some airlines are going week-by-week with these suspension announcements, others are clearing the schedule out much further than that.

This means that if you travel travel later this year to some of these destinations that have gotten hit, you may still find schedule disruptions the longer the coronavirus continues its march around the world.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Such cherrypicking in that ’empty’ photo article – JFK and ANC shots taken before the Super Bowl even happened

    Come on – i come to boardingarea for authors that obsess over aviation and can spot this BS – not spread it

    • Nice job cherrypicking the two photos that were from that timeframe. The others are all from airports affected by the route suspensions and after that time.
      I didn’t write that article and those are not my photos.

      • You didn’t have to link to or feature it.

        Fact is several have no date at all – and the presence of irrelevant photos with a date makes them suspect.

        More important – none of the U.S. photos are recent and paint and make an unreliable impression of U.S. conditions.

        Reliable facts are more important than ever and Boardingarea deserves better.

        I speak as someone who has profited from declines in airline share prices to be clear about incentives.